A gay student is “completely traumatized” and afraid to go back to school after they were attacked this past May with hand sanitizer by another student who called them a transphobic slur.
The victim’s family says that the school has been dragging their feet on addressing the incident, leaving the victim feeling like they’re the one being punished.
Emily Wilkinson-Quinn, 14, came out as gay last year (and uses they/them pronouns) at the Brooksbank School in Calderdale, U.K. and they said that’s when the bullying started.
The bullying led to a shocking attack on May 20 when a boy at the school followed Emily into a classroom, according to their mother Natasha-Jayne Wilkinson, 34.
She said that the bully pushed Emily to the ground and poured hand sanitizer on their face and clothes and called them a “fucking tranny.”
A teacher then told Emily to “go and wash their face” and then come back to class. Their mother found out about the attack from another parent and tried to get the school to address it.
She told the Yorkshire Post that she called the police after “the first of many times the school have been dismissive.”
Wilkinson said that it took a week for the school to even tell her the name of the student who attacked her child and then the alleged assailant only got suspended for five days. She and her child thought that he would be gone longer until Emily crossed him in school. Now they’re not going to school out of fear.
“In no other situation would a person have to see their attacker face-to-face like that – no wonder they don’t feel safe returning,” the mother said.
“I desperately want to go back to school because I love learning and I miss my friends, but I just don’t feel safe,” Emily said. Their mother is trying to get the Department of Education involved as the police investigation continues.
“It feels like I’m the one being punished,” they said. “When it happened, I was upset, and it made me feel very vulnerable with so many of my classmates watching.”
“It made me feel degraded.”
Emily said that when the other student attacked them, it seemed like he “felt confident that he would get away with it.”
“It feels like he has got away with it.”
“This was a targeted attack,” the mother said. “There were so many witnesses – and there is no doubt that it was gender motivated.”
“The person who left my child traumatized has pretty much got away with it…. Meanwhile Emily is the one stuck at home, like a prisoner, and it feels like the school don’t care.”
West Yorkshire Police said that they are investigating the attack and that a hate crime coordinator has been involved.
A spokesperson for the school said that the school is “unable lawfully, and does not propose, to comment on an entirely confidential matter which involves the welfare of children.”